Freshman Tierra Jones and the Tulane women's basketball team will open play in the 2013 Conference USA Championship on Thursday against the winner of Wednesday's Tulsa/Rice matchup.
March 12, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - After a regular season which saw the Tulane University women's basketball team post a 22-7 overall record and finish tied for second in Conference USA with an 11-5 league mark, the Green Wave return to action on Thursday, March 14, when they open play in the 2013 C-USA Championship at the Tulsa Convention Center.
The championship tournament begins on Wednesday, which the Wave will take off with a first-round bye, and third-seeded Tulane will square off against either sixth-seeded and host Tulsa or No. 11 seed Rice in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. The C-USA Championship will move to the BOK Center on Friday for the final two rounds and the winner of the tournament will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Tulane has advanced to the C-USA Championship title game in each of the previous three seasons, including the 2010 season when the Green Wave won the event in the same city they will be playing in to culminate the 2013 league schedule.
"I think our seniors will remember our trip to Tulsa (in 2010), Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "It certainly was a fond memory and this is where they'll be finishing their Conference USA careers. It's a new year, and right now with tournament time it's a new year for everybody.
"We need to be consistent," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton. "For us, we've got to go out, keep playing like we've been playing and just be consistent. The key to winning in the tournament is to not get into the moment where you're worried about what's going to happen. You just have to be consistent and play how you played when you were successful during the (regular) season."
The Green Wave enter the C-USA Championship averaging 66.8 points, 41.9 rebounds, 16.4 assists, 9.4 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins leads the Tulane offense with 12.4 points per game while sophomore guard Danielle Blagg and senior guard Olivia Grayson follow with respective scoring averages of 10.5 and 9.7. Sophomore forward Tiffany Dale paces the squad with 6.7 boards per game to go with a team-best 41 blocked shots, Grayson headlines the defense with 56 steals, and sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan leads the Green Wave with 126 assists.
Tulane is connecting at a .405 clip from the field, hitting 713-of-1762 shots from the floor, and 149-of-458 tries from beyond the 3-point arc (.325), while allowing opponents to shoot .371 overall (635-of-1710) and .298 from 3-point land (151-of-507). Green Wave foes averaged 59.7 points, 37.3 rebounds, 13.2 assists, 8.6 steals and 2.9 blocks during the 2012-13 regular season.
With all 12 teams making the C-USA Tournament, Tulane is 11-5 against the tourney field, including a 5-2 mark against its side of the bracket with 2-0 record against No. 11 seed Rice, 1-0 marks against No. 6 Tulsa and No. 10 Southern Miss, and an 0-1 showing against No. 2 seed East Carolina.
The Green Wave are 6-3 against the other half of the bracket with 1-0 records against No. 4 UAB, No. 8 UCF and No. 12 Marshall, and 1-1 marks against top-seeded SMU, No. 5 seed UTEP and No. 9 seed Houston.
Since the inception of Conference USA prior to the 1995-96 season, Tulane is 27-11 in Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship play and came home with the tourney title in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2010.
In addition, the Green Wave advanced to the championship game three other times, falling to Cincinnati 68-56 on March 4, 2002, in Chicago, Ill., to UCF 85-73 on March 12, 2011, in El Paso, Texas, and to UTEP 69-65 on March 10, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn.
The Green Wave are playing as the No. 3 seed for the second consecutive season and third time overall. In both previous occasions, the third-seeded Tulane teams advanced to the C-USA title games. Tulane went 3-0 in 1999 and ended with a 58-44 victory over Cincinnati in then-Fogelman Arena (since renovated and renamed Devlin Fieldhouse) while going 2-1 a year ago and falling to UTEP in the championship contest.
"So many teams have beaten teams that are ranked higher than them," Stockton added. "It came down to the wire where people were ranked, especially from four through 11. It's anybody's tournament. I think it'll come down to who's playing well and who can play three or four games back-to-back."
Fans can follow all of the action via the Internet on the C-USA Digital Network. In addition, live audio streaming is available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass and live stats will be provided on the web for free courtesy of GameTracker. The games will also be aired on the flagship radio station of Tulane basketball, The Ticket 106.1 FM, but Thursday's game may not be aired in New Orleans as the Tulane men can potentially play that same day at 5:30 p.m.
2013 CONFERENCE USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
First Round Wed., March 13 (Tulsa Convention Center)
Game 1: (8) UCF vs (9) Houston - 11:00 am
Game 2: (5) UTEP vs (12) Marshall - 1:30 pm
Game 3: (6) Tulsa vs (11) Rice - 5:00 pm
Game 4: (7) Memphis (10) Southern Miss - 7:30 pm
Quarterfinals Thur., March 14 (Tulsa Convention Center)
Game 5: (1) SMU vs G1 Winner - 11:00 am
Game 6: (4) UAB vs G2 Winner - 1:30 pm
Game 7: (3) Tulane vs G3 Winner - 5:00 pm
Game 8: (2) East Carolina vs G4 Winner - 7:30 pm
Semifinals Fri., March 15 (BOK Center)
Game 9: G5 Winner vs G6 Winner - 10:00 am
Game 10: G7 Winner vs G8 Winner - 12:30 pm
(Both Games Televised on CBS Sports Network)
Championship Sat., March 16 (BOK Center)
Game 11: G9 Winner vs G10 Winner - 7:00 pm
(Televised on CBS Sports Network)